YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio - Some big proposals were mentioned Thursday night from a Youngstown church that has owned the Idora Park property for the past 28 years.
But some are skeptical that Mt. Calvary Pentecostal Church's plans for the former park will only amount to empty promises.
Pastor Shawn Tyson of Mount Calvary Pentecostal Church stood before members of the Idora Neighborhood Association Thursday night, explaining some of the new plans for the Idora Park land that the church has owned since October 1985.
The first phase would be what he calls a "Dream Center." It would include a community hall that residents could rent out for events. It would also have a cafe, cyber lab and counseling center.
"The time is now and we're moving forward and we need your prayers and support." Tyson said.
INA President Jim London presented a timeline of past-due taxes and other debt and litigation against the church. He wanted to know how the church was going to resolve those matters before taking on this new project.
"That property is so far in debt that whatever we do there, those people who have liens against that property will come and take it, " London said.
He told 21 News, "They say negatives. We don't want negatives. You can't get more negative than not paying your bills. Since 2001 ... back that far the lines go and then come in and say we've got this vision and we're going to have thousands of dollars. I don't see you getting it."
"We are in an on-going, aggressive, debt liquidation program in our church that involves sacrificial giving from the members. We're also receiving donations. We're also pursuing grants," Pastor Tyson said.
Mt. Calvary is also getting assistance from Global Kingdom Ministries.
The executive director of Youngstown's Neighborhood Development Corporation, Presley Gillespie would like to see the plans move forward, but is also skeptical.
"So we need to figure out whose going to do the work and where's the money going to come from and once we determine those things, I think there will be more trust because there has been a lot of trust lost," Gillespie said.
The meeting ended with the church, the neighborhood association and representatives of the city agreeing to work together. However, there was a sense of guarded optimism among those who attended.